Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Technology is Awesome!

by Marsha Ward

When I read about Robyn's book trailer, then went to see it, I was awestruck at her accomplishment and thought I should go and do likewise - someday. I put the notion of doing a couple of trailers for my novels into the overflowing "to-do someday" section of my brain. Then I set out to find the Movie Maker on my computer so I'd be ready for "someday."

At first I couldn't find it. That must have triggered my "By dang! I'm going to do this now" contrariness quirk, so when I discovered that the software was indeed residing on my 'puter, I launched into a two-day stint of creativity.

Since I had some people check out my first efforts to portray The Man from Shenandoah on electronic video and got good suggestions to implement, and since my second version wasn't quite perfect either, I can't direct you to the exact location of my fledgling book trailer today. However, once I take my handy flash drive into town tomorrow and use my laptop at a free broadband hotspot so the upload doesn't take an hour like today's did, I'll come back here and add the address for youTube.

Besides, youTube is undergoing a scheduled maintenance.

--->youTube address for the Book Trailer is right here<---

In the meantime, let me tell you a bit of how I'm feeling in the aftermath of this outpouring of adrenaline.

I searched for the perfect words, the perfect music, the perfect images to convey the essence of The Man from Shenandoah. In all humility, I had help. This whole Internet thing--the ability to search a myriad of places for resources, the miracle of youTube and similar sites--is simply amazing. I must acknowledge, as well, that as I progressed through this process I had heavenly help. My heart is full of gratitude for the tender mercies I've received in my quest to do the best job I could.

When I began, I found a bunch of pictures that I thought would help sell my book. One by one I pared them out of the film. Instead, I used mostly titles set against a rich almost-maroon background that echoes the book cover. Review quotes are on a color that picks up the grays in the cover. Perfect grace brought me the image of a young red-headed pioneer woman in a red dress.

The first music didn't work for me. Then I found a piece that is lilting, haunting, evocative of the emotions in the novel. When I made my final cut and listened over and over as I watched the images flash by, I was astounded to notice that a certain melodic theme played as the girl stared at me, and it was repeated, more softly, at the sight of the book cover, The Man from Shenandoah himself. I realized that the pizzacato strings under the solo violin and the throbbing *bass viol lines accentuate the fact that these people traveled via animal power, with clip-clopping hooves an ever-present sound. Who would've thunk that a piece by the Baroque master composer Vivaldi would so well suit a tale of distressed Americans on the move to the West?

I didn't.

My soul is soaring.

Edited to add the youTube address.
*Yeah, it might be a cello playing, but my first impression was that it is a string bass, so I wrote it that way.


Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Marsha, the book trailer is wonderful! And how perfect for me because Vivaldi is my favorite composer. Nicely done! I might just tackle a book trailer of my own one of these days!

Marcia Mickelson said...

Finally got to see your trailer. It looks good. Nice job. I will have to start working on one too, but it looks hard.

Marsha Ward said...

Hi Nancy and Marcia,

I'm glad you like the trailer. It was an awesome experience to do it. And Marcia, it's not very hard. I used Movie Maker by Windows, and it's pretty easy to learn. Just create a bunch of titles with text, throw in your book cover several times, and cue them up to a nice piece of music.

Actually, on the second one I'm working on, I started with the music and cued the text/picture slides to it.

The hardest part for me was remembering that "less is more," especially when you have a bunch of transition options and title styles.

When you actually start out doing this, email me or let's have a discussion on our Ink Ladies group.

Tamra Norton said...

Marsha, what a great job you've done here. I'm so inspired now to try to tackle this myself.